The term “separation” holds a certain negative connotation when explained to family or friends. If you and your spouse decide that you both need some time apart, others may jump to conclusions and assume that this is your first step toward divorce. While this may be the case for some couples, experts have shown that time away from your spouse can often help you make a better decision about how you would like to proceed. Some may simply live separately while others may file for a legal separation agreement. There are benefits and drawbacks to separation, some of which may bring you closer while others could drive you apart. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help you navigate the legal process of separation.
How to Facilitate a Healthy Separation
Living apart from your spouse for a period of time does not have to end in divorce. In fact, many psychologists and marriage counselors actually encourage time apart if you are struggling to make things work. Once apart, you may recognize how much you miss and rely on your partner and decide to put in the additional time and effort to improve the relationship. In order to be productive while you are separated, here are a few things that experts suggest:
Find additional support: You and your spouse may likely try to keep your separation a private matter. While this is understandable, it can be difficult to deal with your emotions without any outside support or help. Consulting with a neutral third party can avoid having your family and friends’ opinions weighing in on your decisions. Marriage counselors, therapists, and psychologists are professionals who can help you process your feelings during this emotional time.
Discuss your expectations: You may want to use this period of separation for self-reflection while your spouse may use this time to see other people and gauge his or her feelings. There is no “right” or “wrong” answer, but you should be clear about your intentions with your spouse so that you are both comfortable with the arrangement and can avoid any misconceptions about the process.
Keep in contact: This trial separation period may be time for you to be alone, but avoiding or ignoring your partner is not the best way to handle things. You should still communicate regularly to check in with each other and avoid “out of sight, out of mind” becoming the only takeaway from this experience.
Why Should I Get a Legal Separation?
You may not realize that you and your spouse can create a legal agreement for your separation. This would be a legally binding contract for the time being and may be helpful for keeping your expectations on the same page. Without such an agreement, things can go south quickly. If you are both living apart and have no rules or discussions on how finances will be handled, the higher-earning spouse or the one living in your family home may have primary control over the marital assets. If you have a contentious relationship, this can lead to squandering or hiding of assets for vengeful purposes.
In your separation agreement, you can also outline your parental responsibilities and parenting time schedules in addition to child support to avoid any confusion while separated. Including this information in a legal agreement is the best way to avoid either party from taking advantage of the situation.
Call a DuPage County Legal Separation Lawyer
It is common for couples to live separately for a period of time before making a decision about staying together or officially ending their marriage. Those who choose to take additional legal measures to ensure their personal and financial security typically experience a more productive and cohesive separation period. At the Goostree Law Group, we work in all areas of family law, whether informing our clients on their rights or helping them navigate their lives moving forward. For help with your legal separation, contact our qualified Wheaton family law attorneys at 630-364-4046 to schedule your free consultation.